Olive Oil

The Smokin' Hot Charred Chile Oil We're Drizzling on Everything

July 20, 2018

Let's say you like spice. No, let's say you love spice. Somewhere among your spice shrine most likely rests the boisterous habanero pepper. Maybe you've made this spicy twist on lemonade or perhaps you've whipped together a habanero raspberry relish (yum!). And let's say when you bought raw peppers, they came many to a pack. Unfortunately, most recipes only call for one (sometimes a half) a pepper and all of a sudden you've got a kitchen full of habaneros.

What are you to do?

Enter our Test Kitchen chef Josh and his knack for repurposing leftover ingredients. Enter, this spicy habanero oil, your new favorite way to habanero.

Could this be the spicy condiment for me? Photo by Rocky Luten

Josh’s trick is simple and elegant. He distills the entire essence of a habanero down to its very habanero-ness. Right on.

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How, you might ask? He broils the habaneros until they’re charred and all sorts of burnt on the outside (in a good way!), then he whizzes those peppers together with oil in a blender.

Double, double, broil and trouble. Photo by Rocky Luten

There ya go—charred habanero oil. Here’s Josh in his own words:

Habanero peppers are known for being very spicy, but they also have a subtle fruity flavor. Charring the habaneros brings out that flavor. This condiment can be used on anything from fish to steak to eggs to pizza. It will last in your refrigerator for months.

He urges you to feel free to use any spicy pepper instead of the habaneros. And you should, because, according to him, the difference between decent food and delicious food sometimes comes down to a good condiment. So experiment away!

While the oven's hot

How do you handle all your habaneros? Share your recipes in the comments below.

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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


IRI July 6, 2023
Looks somewhat similar to Rick Martinez' charred habanero oil (he also uses 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves). A bit far fetched to claim the invention of this recipe to your editor. Rick's recipe is just to heat a cup of oil and fry the peppers ans garlic in it until black (15-20 mins on medium high heat). Also, I would not recommend using any spicy pepper. Fleshy and juicy peppers may retain more liquid. For food safety reasons, it's best to ensure that items you infuse your oil with are as dry and dehydrated as possible to eliminate risk of bacteria developing.
Smaug July 28, 2018
I have (accidentally) charred hot peppers, and feel I should warn anyone inclined to try it that the fumes can be astonishingly acrid; toss some vinegar in a hot pan with charred habaneros and you have a military grade chemical weapon.